08/20

each summer i wear my way through a pair of sandals

i had blue ones when i went to maine 
with my boyfriend's family.
august after graduation. i wore 
a lace b-cup bra. 
i bought two pairs of pajamas for the trip.
i thought i was 
a woman. street gravel
stuck to shoe bottoms & fog gushed 
from the ocean. in town
there were all kinds of galleries.
as we walked, my boy friends's hand 
made a purse of me.
a potter & a portrait maker
& then the hat pin carver. he etched 
little tabs of ivory, old piano keys.
i bought three despite not having
any hats. i pinned one 
to the strap of my dress
& the metal grazed against my skin.
my boyfriend stuck one 
in his curly hair. 
on the rocky beach, i nearly tripped
every day. my flipflops made 
gripping the huge rocks nearly impossible.
often i gave up, & just set the shoes
by the side of the road
before the beach. anyone could have
taken them & then i would have had
no shoes at all. we harvested sea glass
& all week we looked for 
a shard of blue. found clear & auburn 
& yellow. no blue. went back
to the hat pin maker & he told us a story
of how he saw the whole universe's alphabet 
one night while walking on the rocky beach.
august august august. on the last day
the strap popped off my shoe.
my boyfriend said, "i'll he'd carry you home."
i replied "i'll walk barefoot."
i have been told in workshops, it is good
to refer to people by their names
& not just relationships like
"brother" or "boyfriend."
i am calling him "boyfriend" 
so you can see more than i do.
this poem is just about summer & feet. 
we took a little boat ride
to the other side of the canal 
where canada waited. the town 
was tired & full of worn wood
& dilapidated storefronts. 
on the ride back i took my shoes off
(this was before they snapped)
& i thought about my ankles.
nothingt matters but august. 
he kissed my shoulder & then my neck.
the boat dipped & ripples spread out
all around us. tiny little row boat.
i said, "we should keep going."

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